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Animated Earth Chronicles: The Legend of Darla Dimple
At 0745 that morning, I woke up and got ready to go to the Observation Lounge to see what mission Captain Picard had set me up for. At 0900 precisely, I strode into the Observation Lounge and saw the Captain, Worf and Commander Riker, plus someone seated with his back to the door I walked in. Captain Picard gestured towards a chair directly across the table from that of the mystery guest. "Please, take a seat, Ensign," Picard said. I moved over to the chair. My jaw dropped when I looked square into the face of a Cardassian in a military officer's uniform.
Picard made the introductions. "This is Joret Dal," Picard said. "He was in the escape pod that we retrieved. He is a member of the Cardassian military... and a Federation operative. He has risked his life to bring us invaluable information about Cardassian strategic intentions-information that could very well enhance the security of Bajor, as well as other planets in this sector. Now, it is absolutely imperative that we return him safely to Cardassian space."
"It will not be easy," Dal said. "The border is heavily guarded."
"Since his ship was destroyed, he'll be using one of our shuttles," Riker said.
"If a patrol stops me, I will claim to have stolen it," Dal said.
"We have distressed the shuttle so that it appears to have been fired upon," Worf said.
"Joret will attempt to talk his way past the patrol," Riker said.
"If I were alone, the chances of my succeeding would be slim," Joret said. "But if I had a prisoner with me- a Bajoran terrorist-I would appear to be a bounty hunter. Border crossings of that nature are not uncommon. And for a price, the patrol can be convinced to look the other way."
"Once the shuttle is safely past the patrol, Joret will put you in an escape pod and return you back across the border," Picard said.
"Since the pod is so small, it will be difficult to detect," Riker said.
"We'll be waiting here to pick you up," Picard said. "Now, Ensign, this is a very dangerous mission. I am not ordering you to take part in it."
"Then I volunteer, sir," I said.
"Be certain you understand the risk you are taking," Worf cautioned. "If you are captured..."
"I'm Bajoran," I said. "No one knows better than I do what Cardassians do to their prisoners." Then, as if to underscore my decision, I turned to Picard and said, "I've made my decision, sir."
"Very well, Ensign," Picard said. "Will you report to Sickbay? Dr. Crusher will explain." As I stood up to leave, Picard added, "And Ensign Sito, I must ask you not to discuss this mission with anyone."
"Yes, sir," I said as I left the Lounge.
A few hours later, in Shuttlebay 3, I walked in and saw Worf standing near the entry hatch to the shuttlecraft Curie as Joret and Commander Geordi LaForge made some final arrangements to the shuttle. Worf saw the makeup I wore for my cover as a Bajoran terrorist, so I explained to him that the Captain asked Dr. Crusher to make it look as if Joret had mistreated me.
"We're all set here," LaForge said. As he left, I turned to Worf.
Knowing that this might be my final goodbye to him, I said, "Sir, I just want you to know that I really appreciate the fact that you've always had confidence in me." Worf just said, "Good luck."
"I'll see you soon," I responded as I boarded the shuttle.
A few hours later, the Curie had entered Cardassian space. I turned to Joret and asked him, "Why are you doing this--risking your life for Starfleet?"
"I don't consider myself a traitor, if that's what you're asking," Joret said. "All my life, I've served in the military. Once, it was an institution dedicated to the security of Cardassia. Now, it's little more than a platform for ambitious Guls [a Cardassian rank, equivalent to Captain in Starfleet] hoping to make their reputations in battle. If the information I've provided helps Starfleet deter even one pointless skirmish, I've served my purpose. I'm sick of war. My people need peace."
"I never thought I'd hear a Cardassian say something like that," I said, not believing that I was hearing. Joret responded in kind, "And I never thought a Bajoran would risk her life to help a Cardassian get home." A beeping from the control panel caught my attention.
"A patrol ship is moving in on our position," I said.
"We don't have much time," Joret said as we made our way back to the Curie's cargo area, where Joret put a pair of handcuffs on me.
Captain Picard describes what happened next:
We were on the Bridge, scanning for your escape pod, when a probe we launched picked up debris 200,000 kilometers inside Cardassian space. Data said that its size and composition indicated that it could be the remains of a Federation escape pod. A few hours after that, we intercepted a Cardassian transmission that stated a Bajoran terrorist had escaped from her captor, but was killed in an evacuation pod as she tried to leave Cardassian space.
Although I could not reveal Joret Dal's true identity as a Starfleet operative, I still had to inform the crew that you were apparently lost in the line of duty. I understand this is the first time you will have heard this, Joanna. Are you sure you want to hear this? (Yes, I do, Jean-Luc. Please play the recording.) All right.
(Picard pushes a button on his desk. A old-style bosun's whistle plays.)
"To all Starfleet personnel, this is the Captain. It is my sad duty to inform you that a member of the crew, Ensign Sito Jaxa, has been lost in the line of duty. She was the finest example of a Starfleet officer, and a young woman of remarkable courage and strength of character. Her loss will be deeply felt by all who knew her. Picard, out."
(computer sound plays; transmission ends)
To tell you the truth, when Captain Picard played that transmission for me, I started crying. It's not often you get to hear your own eulogy. But, when Captain Picard made that statement twelve years ago, he did not know that I was still alive.
In the nine years since the debacle at the Lil' Ark Angel premiere, I had settled into a job as a janitor at the Pokémon Trainer's School in Rustboro City, the largest city in the Hoenn region, one of the Four Regions" where creatures known as Pokémon lived in harmony with human beings. I resolved to hold the job only until a chance to take revenge on Danny and Sawyer presented itself. One day, exactly nine years after Peebo Pudgemeyer's pull of a switch brought an unceremonious end to my Hollywood career, I slipped on a banana peel that an Aipom (a monkey Pokémon with a hand-like appendage on the tail) dropped and hit my head--hard--on the stone floor of the Pokémon Gym battlefield adjoining the Trainer's School complex.
For several hours, I was unconscious. Just before I woke, I heard a British-accented voice say something as I looked in the mirror and saw the saw-nosed woman, dressed in home-spun clothes and with bruises on her cheek. The voice said, "To all Starfleet personnel, this is the Captain. It is my sad duty to inform you that a member of the crew, Ensign Sito Jaxa, has been lost in the line of duty. She was the finest example of a Starfleet officer, and a young woman of remarkable courage and strength of character. Her loss will be deeply felt by all who knew her. Picard, out." The reflection faded. Then...
I woke up to Max shaking me. "Miss Dimpool, are you all right?" he asked. Roxanne, administrator of the Trainer's School and leader of the Pokémon Gym, had a concerned look on her face.
"Miss Romano, you took a heck of a fall back there. Are you okay?" she asked.
"Thank you, Roxanne," I said. "I'm okay."
Later that day, a young man with short cropped blue hair, a young girl with long red hair and a cat Pokémon walked up to me. "Are you Darla Dimple?" the girl asked.
"Who wants to know?" I asked.
"We want to help you get revenge against Danny Goldsmith," the girl said.
"You don't know him. Thanks, but no thanks," I said.
"Well, if you change your mind, we'll be at the Rustboro Hotel," the boy said. As the boy, the girl and the cat Pokémon left, I thought for a moment. Then, I saw five new arrivals enter the Pokémon Center. I saw one of them, a boy with short black hair, walk up to a videophone when it started to ring. I gasped when I saw the person the boy with the Pikachu on his shoulder was talking to: Danny Goldsmith! I heard Danny saying .that he intended to propose to Sawyer at the premiere of their new movie! I ran out of the Pokémon Center and went to the Rustboro Hotel.
"So, you changed your mind," the girl with red hair, named Jessie, said.
"Yeah," I said. "I saw Danny on the videophone at the Pokémon Center. He was talking to this boy with a Pikachu on his shoulder." The boy with blue hair--James--and the cat Pokémon--Meowth--instantly came over to where Jessie and I sat. Meowth hopped on the table
"So, let me get this straight," Jessie said as James sat down. "The twerps and those cats you hate so much have hooked up?"
"That's right," I said.
"I hope we can both accomplish our goals," Meowth said.
"Yes!" I said. "This time our plan will work, won't it, Max?"
"Yes, Miss Dimpool," Max agreed.
A that instant a bulbous blue Pokémon with a black tail appeared from out of nowhere. "Wobbuffet!" it exclaimed. Jessie grumbled, then pulled a Pokéball from the belt at her waist and recalled Wobbuffet.
"Finally, you'll get that Pikachu you've been after and I'll have revenge on that tabby for ruining my career!" I chortled. Everyone but Max started to laugh maniacally.
A few days later, Max and I were sworn into Team Rocket. The next day, we received intelligence that Sawyer was with the boy and his friends and that they were to visit the Safari Zone outside Fuschia City, in the Kanto region. In the cockpit of a giant robot shaped like a Wobbuffet, Jessie ordered me to launch a missile, targeted at the center of the park.
We heard the boy's voice. "A Wobbuffet! You know what that means!"
"What does it mean, Ash?" we heard Sawyer ask. A few moments later, we heard Jessie give the answer.
"It means to prepare for trouble!," she cried. "And make it double!," James added.
"To protect the world from devastation..."
"To unite all peoples within our nation..."
"To denounce the evils of truth and love..."
"To extend our reach to the stars above..."
"Team Rocket, blast off at the speed of light," Jessie said.
"Surrender now, or prepare to fight," James said.
"Meowth, that's right!" Meowth said. The Wobbuffet appeared and said its name. Jessie grumbled and recalled Wobbuffet once more.
"Team Rocket!" Ash, Misty and Brock said as one.
"That's right," James said. "Yes. And we've grown by two," Jessie said. "Darla! Max!"
A panel opened in the body of the robot, revealing us.
"Darla Dimple! Why have you joined Team Rocket?" Sawyer exclaimed.
"It's simple, kitty!" I said coolly. "I want revenge for what you and Danny did to my career nine years ago! And joining Team Rocket, I decided, was the only way to go. Ain't that right, Max?"
"Yes, Miss Dimpool," Max said obediently.
As Team Rocket and Ash, Misty, Brock and Sawyer let out their Pokémon, Sawyer turned to Brock, " I have an idea. Let's combine our attacks! If what I've heard of Team Rocket is true, we can easily kick their butts." Pikachu's Thunder, Mudkip's Water Gun, Forretress' Spike Cannon, Starmie's Water Pulse and Sawyer's Bulbasaur's Razor Leaf combined into a conflagration that sent Jessie, James and their Pokemon flying into the robot Wobbuffet. The impact was so strong it destroyed the robot and it sent us flying too.
"We'll be back!" I screamed.
"Yes, Miss Dimpool," Max said.
"Shut up, Max!" I snapped.
"Team Rocket's blasting off again!" Jessie, James and Meowth wailed.
A few days later, we found out that the boy, whose name was Ash Ketchum, was to attend Danny and Sawyer's wedding, and that he was engaged himself. We decided to give Ash a little engagement present-one that he would never forget. On the day of Danny and Sawyer's wedding, we piloted our Magikarp submarine under the surface of a lake near Pallet Town, Ash's hometown and the site of Danny and Sawyer's wedding. We soon spotted Ash near the lakeside where he and Danny were having a man to cat talk.
"Dan, mind a little advice?"
"I've got some advice for you, kitty!" I said.
"Oh, no," Danny groaned.
"Today of all days," Ash said. "Team Rocket!" they exclaimed in unison.
We surfaced the sub and burst out, ready to do battle, but, surprisingly, Ash was not the first to send out a Pokémon-Danny was. The tabby sent out a Scyther, a praying mantis Pokémon with blades for hands, but, Scyther's attack was foiled by our Wobbuffet's Counter technique. We had Danny and Ash on the ropes.
"Kitty, the only way you're going to get to see your beloved Sawyer walk down the aisle is if you hand that Pikachu over to us!" I demanded.
"Over our dead bodies, Team Rocket," countered a voice nearby.
We turned to see Ash's friends-Brock Harrison, May Blaustein and her brother Max, Gary Oak, Ash's mother Delia, Ash's fiancée Misty Williams and some others appear from out of the fog.
"As you can see, Team Rocket, we're a team too," Danny said. "Team Victory is gonna send ya blasting off - again!"
A Thunder attack from Pikachu and a Hydro Pump from Gary Oak's Blastoise combined to create enough force to destroy the Magi-Sub and send us flying into the sky again. Max and I landed, but this time Jessie and James were nowhere to be found.
We decided to move on and later hooked up with Butch and Cassidy, Jessie and James' rivals within Team Rocket. Four months after our disastrous attempt to stop Danny and Sawyer's wedding, not only did we have two more kitties to deal with-for Danny and Sawyer had twins-but our alliance with the Cylon Empire failed to hold onto the USS Voyager when a Starfleet rescue team which counted Danny, Sawyer AND Ash amongst its members rescued the Voyager and her crew from a heavily-guarded Cylon Base Star. Still undaunted, we decided to crash Ash and Misty's wedding, held aboard the Voyager. Unfortunately, there would be another uninvited guest.
Darla and Sito finally meet face to face..
and everything will change.